I watched a TV show the other night about an exclusive motorcycle company from Italy. The company had a passion for excellence and it showed up in the price. It was one of the most expensive motorcycles in the world. The employees were not called mechanics or designers, but artists. No time limit was given to build a motorcycle, each artist took as much time as needed to finish the bike. If it took a couple of days longer, that was fine. The customer understood each person had to sign off on the quality of work done.
The part that amazed me was the philosophy behind the company. It was to improve a little bit every day. The engine for example was designed by Porsche and produced 140 hp when introduced in 1998. In the last eleven years, it has increased to 180 hp one or two hp at a time. For example, the computer showed a possible increase of hp if the exhaust valve was moved the distance of the thickness of a human hair. The engine team moved the valve and a 2 hp increase was achieved. The whole team was cheering each other and breaking open the champagne. This is the type of quality demanded in each department. Trying to do a little better today than you did yesterday.
The company owner said it was like an orange. When you have squeezed it as hard as you can, you don't think there is any more juice inside. Yet, if you really try, you can squeeze one more drop out. Each day they try to increase quality by one drop.
What a great way to live the Christian life. Instead of looking for radical changes in our life with the Lord, we should try to improve one drop each day. Radical changes indicate you were radically wrong. Once a car is on the highway, only a small movement of the steering wheel is necessary. This is the way it is with our relationship with the Lord. Ask yourself this question: How can I walk a little bit closer to the Lord today than I did yesterday? Can I squeeze one more drop out of the orange?
There are two Hebrew words for friend. One means an acquaintance and the other a close friend. One use of a close friend is Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Good friends can be closer than our own family. As you get older, you may see your family from time to time and maybe only at times of pressure and tragedy. It is sad, but at times, you do drift away from family relationships. When thinking of going out for the evening, your family often does not come to mind; but your good friend does.
When life is all said and done, what will endure will not be money or possessions, but family and especially close friends. You cannot have many close friends, so quit trying. People you know may talk about all the friends they have, when in reality most are merely acquaintances. Even Jesus did not have all twelve disciples as close friends. Only three were His closest and of the three, only one stuck really close, John. Value your handful of close friends. Next to Jesus, and possibly family, they are your greatest possessions.
In my book, How Deep Are The Stripes?, I make reference to the stripes of Jesus going deeper than physical healing. His stripes deal with the root of sickness, strife, and emotional problems. Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us Jesus’ stripes also took the chastisement of our peace. God wants us to be at peace in our minds and emotions so sickness can have no hold on us. Many doctors tell us today that much of our sicknesses come from stress. When Jesus entered into His public ministry, He told the multitudes, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…to heal the brokenhearted…and set at liberty those who are bruised.” Jesus mentioned His mission was to set people free from their emotional scars and wounds, as well as physical healing, such as opening blind eyes. After Jesus forgave the woman taken in adultery, He told her, “Neither do I condemn you.” What a wonderful message we should be taking wherever we go. I can go into a stressful situation knowing I am forgiven of all sins, free from condemnation, and at peace with God and man. That thought should prepare you for anything you will face today or the rest of this week. Jesus has set you free and you are free indeed!
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… (Galatians 5:20)
Biblical authors have stated that there is only one fruit of the Spirit, love. I tend to agree. I believe each mention of the characteristics of a Spirit led life is a manifestation of divine love found in us from the moment of the new birth. The best example I can use of a fruit is the orange. When opened up, it has many sections. Each piece is a section of one orange. Joy is one section of the fruit of love. Peace is another section of the fruit of love. I guess I am trying to say this: Quit trying to walk in joy, peace or patience. Walk in love and you will be joyful, peaceful and patient toward others. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13, love is patient, love is kind, etc. After all, God is love and He has no trouble being full of joy and peace. When the love of God is shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit, you will manifest every section of the fruit of the Spirit without trying.